Friday, September 19, 2014

On September 18, the Hellenic Parliament ratified the first three concessions, granting rights for hydrocarbon exploration and extraction in offshore locations in western Greece, specifically in Katakolo, Ioannina and the Patras Gulf. During the session, which Environment, Energy and Climate Change Minister Yiannis Maniatis described as "historic," MPs also ratified a fourth contract that modified the existing hydrocarbon exploitation contract in the Thracian Sea, in the northeast of Greece.

Maniatis also sought to address fears concerning environmental safety issues, saying that a team of experts had been working on a new, stricter European legal framework for offshore drilling platforms, noting that Greece will be the first country to adopt the stricter standards established by EU directives.

Main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras met yesterday (18.09) with Pope Francis at the Vatican and discussed the economic crisis in Greece, the migration issue and the need for politics that will re-inspire people as well as world peace. "The Left and the Christian Church come from different ideological starting points, but meet on the same core values: solidarity, love for the fellow-men, social justice and our wish for world peace," Tsipras said after the landmark meeting.

During the 20-minute unofficial meeting, Tsipras took the opportunity to brief the Catholic pontiff on the repercussions of Greece’s economic crisis, noting that the country keeps sinking deeper in crisis, which has now become a humanitarian crisis, and pointed out that "we need the support of wider forces across Europe" to terminate this policy.

British magazine Gramophone honored Greek violinist Leonidas Kavakos with the prestigious Artist of the Year award, in a ceremony that took place in London, on September 17. The 46 year-old artist received the award from last year's recipient, Alison Balsom and said that he was "deeply touched" by the recognition and this great distinction.

"I strongly believe there is no way to success for anyone by himself. I want to really mention and thank those people who have been close to me…all the people I have had the privilege to make music with," noted the Greek violinist.

Kavakos has won prizes at several international violin competitions, including the Sibelius, Paganini, and Indianapolis competitions. He has also recorded for labels such as Sony / BMG and BIS. As a conductor, he was an artistic director of the Camerata Salzburg and has been a guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Three new galleries dedicated to ancient treasures opened on September 16 at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA).

The new galleries focus on three themes: Homer and the Epics, Dionysos and the Symposium and Theater and Performance and reflects a shift in the way the Museum has been presenting art so far, from chronological to thematic.

The MFA's thematic galleries are part of a trend over the past decade or so, says Bruce Altshuler, director of New York University's program in museum studies. "There's a general feeling that personalized, narrative, thematic accounts are more accessible." 230 works, primarily from the 6th century to the 4th century BC, are displayed in the collections, including marble and bronze sculptures, ceramic and metal vases, and terracotta figurines.

Many objects on view have been meticulously restored -some for the first time in a century. The fascinating displays will captivate anyone who has been inspired by Greek theater, mythology or the legendary heroes of Homer’s timeless epics.

It is noted that the MFA’s renowned collection of Greek art contains some of the most visually complicated objects in the Museum. iPads will be placed near two particularly detailed vases in order to explain the narratives and "unpack" their symbols.

The Acropolis Museum ranks in the 8th spot among the world’s top 25 museums in this year’s TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards for top museums in the world.

The annual awards are based on reviews submitted by the popular platform’s users. The list is compiled by taking into account the quality and quantity of the reviews submitted by users in the year in question.

On the list, released by TripAdvisor the Acropolis Museum ranked higher in reviews than such institutions as the British Museum in London and the Louvre in Paris, even though the latter is the most-visited worldwide. 

The Art Institute of Chicago topped the list, followed by the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico and the State Hermitage Museum of St. Petersburg in third place.